A letter to Molecular Vision

Dr. Isaac Bekhor

Photograph of Dr. Isaac Bekhor The vision scientific community lost a dear friend and colleague this past year: Dr. Isaac Bekhor.

The Doheny Eye Institute and the University of Southern California were fortunate to have Dr. Isaac Bekhor, the scientist and the individual, as a resident for all of his adult life. Dr. Bekhor received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry in 1961 here at the University of Southern California, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1966 from the University of California at Los Angeles, and completed his postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology in 1969 at the California Institute of Technology.

In 1970, Dr. Bekhor received his first academic appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. From 1975 to 1982, he held a dual appointment as Associate Professor at the University of Southern California in the Department of Biochemistry at the School of Dentistry and in the Department of Biology. He served as Vice Chair from 1976 to 1982 of the Biochemistry Department. From 1979 to 1984, Dr. Bekhor served at the Norris Cancer Center on the Basic Research Review Board.

Dr. Bekhor began his long affiliation with the Doheny Eye Institute and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1983 when he was appointed Professor. At this same time, Dr. Bekhor held an appointment as Professor of Basic Sciences at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. In 1990, he was appointed Chairman of the Basic Science Faculty at the Doheny Eye Institute. At the time of his death, he was an active faculty member of the Mary D. Allen Laboratories for Vision Research in the Doheny Vision Research Center.

Dr. Bekhor's long and productive scientific career focused on molecular biology of lens development. He maintained continuous National Eye Institute grant funding throughout his academic career, a remarkable achievement in these challenging financial times. Dr. Bekhor also published over fifty peer-reviewed scientific articles and authored six chapters and two books.

Though terminally ill, Dr. Bekhor remained deeply engaged in his scientific work and loved what he was doing. He was a bold and extremely courageous individual. Dr. Bekhor was an understanding leader who encouraged his students, colleagues, and friends, and was affirmatively supportive of them. He was always a productive and independent scientist whose heart was dedicated to his family and friends. This family included his wife, Maureen, and three adult children: Carolyn, Angela and Benjamin.

Dr. Isaac Bekhor is profoundly missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him. In his memory, The Doheny Eye Institute has established The Isaac Bekhor Seminar Series, focusing on vision in basic and clinical sciences.

Cheryl M. Craft Ph.D.
Mary D. Allen Professor
Doheny Eye Institute Professor and Chair,
Department of Cell and Neurobiology
University of Southern California School of Medicine

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Received February 1996 | Uploaded March 1996

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© 1996 Molecular Vision